I was visiting with some people and was struck by the opulence of their home. You know what I mean – perfect lawn, shrubs trimmed to perfection every week. Pristine swimming pool with diving board and slide; water so pure you might think it came out of millions of plastic bottles.
Inside is every bit as nice. Designers who routinely have their homes on magazine covers would be green with envy at their furnishings. Every piece is coordinated with every other piece in the most tasteful of fashions. Seven bedrooms with 10 bathrooms; each bedroom is decorated in a different theme. There’s a tropical bedroom complete with sheer netting, one that could have been lifted from the Palace at Versailles, another that is an exact copy of the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House.
“It must cost a fortune to have a home like yours,” I commented.
“The word fortune is such a nebulous word,” the husband replied. “A fortune in the early twentieth century isn’t even at the poverty level today.”
But nevertheless,” I offered, “Most people would not be able to afford to maintain a home like this, much less purchase it.”
“Oh we had it built,” replied. “We looked at existing homes, but we couldn’t find what we wanted at any price.”
“So, to what do you owe your good fortune that allows you to have such a beautiful home?” I asked.
“Good career choices,” they answered together.
“I see,” I answered. “Attended the right college and a prestige graduate school to prepare?”
“Oh I never went to college,” he answered.
“I have a bachelor’s degree from a state university,” she added.
“Really,” I responded with surprise. “I guess I figured you were both investment bankers or stock fund managers or such.”
“Oh no,” the wife laughed. “I hated both finance and accounting when I was in college.”
“Besides,” the husband added, “It’s too easy to go to jail if you go into finance.”
“So what were the career choices that you made that worked out so well for you.”
“I started out at a small garage working on cars, and then moved up to body and fender repairs.”
“And as for me,” she offered, “I am a traffic engineer. “I design highways and specialize in high volume intersections. You know, the ones that are prone to lots of accidents?”
“Today,” continued her husband, “I own a chain of auto body shops. The customers wreck their cars on her highways, then they pay me to fix them. It’s like a license to print money!” The wife snuggled closer to her husband.
“And that is why we have such a perfect marriage and such a beautiful home,” she said with a smile.